A mini review of Cornish, New Hampshire's 2-mile Blow-Me-Down Trail
Welcome back to Upper Valley Trailheads. Today, we'll be heading to Cornish, New Hampshire to check out a trail part of the St. Gaudens National Historic Site, called the Blow-Me-Down Trail. I've hiked this trail many times growing up and even as an adult. I'm going to recommend this trail right off the bat to any skill level, as there aren't any challenging features to note.
What's more is that I'm just reviewing the trails, not the actual buildings and exhibits at the main site, which is something else you can check out on same day you try these trails. It certainly is a neat National Park nestled right here in the area.
The trail is roughly 2 miles with moderate terrain and you can certainly go at your own pace. My usual entrance is right off of Route 12A at the Blow-Me-Down Mill, which is an interesting historical landmark that has a plaque which offers a glimpse into what our area used to look like.
The trail itself begins near the old Stone Arch Bridge, marked by a familiar brown hiking sign, starting with a minor incline. The trail follows the side of the Blow-Me-Down Brook, for which it is named, and you can hear the rushing water going over the dam at the old mill for a ways.
Some split log bridges make it easier to traverse this trail as some parts can be muddy, especially after rain. Some steps also help out in ascending the minor inclines.
You don't have to travel far before you reach the Mill Pond Boardwalk. I remember when they built this boardwalk many years ago and it sat a few feet about the water, jutting out into the wetlands. However, nature overcomes all and the end of the boardwalk was caked in dried mud and vegetation has grown up and around it in an act of reclamation.
Continuing on, I headed up the "Return Trail", which is named as such because if you started at the top near the main site, it would return you back up to where you started. On this trail, I encountered the steepest incline on the whole route, but it wasn't very strenuous and the steps certainly help. At the top, you enter a field which is part of the main St. Gaudens site, complete with a temple exhibit.
I decided to explore more and I went down the Ravine Trail near the temple to one of my favorite spots at this national park. The swimming hole and dam, called the Blow-Me-Up Dam, used to be a spot where Augustus St. Gaudens and his assistants used to relax in the cool fresh running water. This is a great destination for a quick hiking trip at St. Gaudens!
On the way back down, I entered the upper trailhead for the Blow-Me-Down Trail, which eventually brought me all the way back to the Blow-Me-Down Mill as part of an easy-to-follow loop. The forest this trail is located in is teeming with wildlife and I almost constantly heard small critters scurrying around in the leaves.
My total time was less than an hour and this is a really great relaxing jaunt.
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